So Megan McArdle decides to tackle the question of why so many Republicans are backing a racist, sexist slimeball and concludes that Republicans have done nothing to encourage or cater to racism and sexism. Sure, cutting back welfare and getting tough on crime were harsh on blacks, but that’s because they commit most crimes and receive most welfare checks. And the party can’t be blamed for the fact so many small-government conservatives happened to be racists (“unless you’re prepared to advocate that both parties should systematically collude to disenfranchise these folks, and split the remaining vote between them. That’s both impractical and more than a little creepy.”). So, no blame to be had, move along please.
Of course, white people receive the majority of welfare checks, being the majority of the poor people. And the people voting for Trump have made it clear they’ve never been in favor of cutting welfare … for themselves. It’s welfare to blacks and Latinos they want to axe. Nor have Republicans ever been for small government or reduced spending in my time as a voter. Reagan gave us record deficits; W trumped them. Lots of Republicans cheered for government having increasingly invasive powers to spy on us during the W years (as long as they targeted Muslims and liberals, not patriotic right-wingers) and plenty of Trump voters favor discrimination against Muslims, bombing the Middle East or making Mexico pay for a wall across the border.
And while it’s true Republicans can’t somehow stop bigots from voting R, they’ve never been shy about encouraging them. Reagan made one of his big Southern appearances at a site where civil-rights workers were murdered, after being told he’d win votes that way. They welcomed segregationist Jerry Falwell into politics. William F. Buckley endorsed the rights of whites to dominate a black majority and once argued David Duke (ex-KKK leader and a neo-Nazi) should be perfectly acceptable as a political candidate — after all, he says he’s dropped his white supremacist views, why shouldn’t we believe him?
I agree with her the racism might still be seething there even if the Republicans hadn’t tried to milk it. America’s racial problems run deep. But she’s still spewing bullshit.